Hybrid Control: from Air Traffic to Fly Wings


Date Thursday May 20th 2004
Time 4:00-5:00pm
Venue George E. Pake Auditorium

PARC Forum

Hybrid systems are a suitable model for representing systems that can transition between different behaviors. Many engineered systems are designed to be hybrid in order to simplify function and maintain flexibility in operation. For example, air traffic control systems involve transitions between simple flight modes for multiple aircraft. Hybrid systems are also a good framework for modeling natural systems: in cell biology, the dynamics that govern the spatial and temporal increase or decrease of protein concentration inside a single cell are continuous differential equations derived from biochemistry, yet their activation or deactivation is triggered by transitions which encode protein concentrations reaching given thresholds.

In this talk, methods that have been designed to analyze, verify, and control hybrid systems will be presented. The methods use tools from game theory, wavefront propagation, and symbolic predicate abstraction, and rely on an iterative refinement procedure which computes, either exactly or approximately, regions of the system’s operating space in which desired behavior is guaranteed. In engineered systems, controllers are designed to keep the system in these regions. In biological systems, knowledge of the actual operating space is used, in conjunction with these methods, to help hypothesize possible models and ‘reverse engineer’ the system. We will focus on two large scale examples: the design and implementation of real time collision avoidance schemes for manned and unmanned air vehicles, and the development of models of cellular regulatory networks in developmental biology.


Claire Tomlin received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1998. Since September 1998 she has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, with a courtesy appointment in Electrical Engineering. She was a graduate fellow in the Division of Applied Sciences at Harvard University in 1994, and she has held visiting research positions at NASA Ames and Honeywell Labs. She is a recipient of the Eckman Award of the American Automatic Control Council (2003), MIT Technology Review's Top 100 Young Innovators Award (2003), AIAA Outstanding Teacher Award (Stanford, 2001), NSF Career Award (1999), Terman Fellowship (Stanford, 1998), and the Bernard Friedman Memorial Prize in Applied Mathematics (Berkeley, 1998). She was an invited participant in the National Academy of Engineering's Frontiers of Engineering Program in 2002, and she is currently a member of DARPA's Information Systems and Technology (ISAT) study group. Her research interests are in hybrid systems, air traffic control automation, flight management system analysis and design, and modeling and analysis of biological cell networks.

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